If you love decorating the house but find yourself running out of wall space, maybe it’s time to apply your eye for interior design to some exterior design. That lawn is good for more than just mowing, after all.

Whether you’re shooting for a high score on the ol’ property value estimator or you just want to put a personal stamp on your little corner of the great outdoors, here are some fun ideas for how to beautify your backyard:

Paint your deck

Having a deck (or patio) is a great way to create a space for yourself in your own backyard. And while the simple “finished wood” look of most decks has a certain rustic charm, if you really want to wow your guests don’t be afraid to embrace color. Whether you go bold and brash or neutral and subdued, the options are endless. Match your deck with your house or juxtapose them to create a dynamic contrast. Alternate the color of each plank for a funky striped style or stencil on elaborate designs for a touch of elegance.

Add some foliage

This might be the most obvious outdoor decorating tip, but it’s also the one with the highest potential. Nothing makes a yard come alive like some lush greenery. You can go big or go small; turn your backyard into a veritable jungle or just add a few subtle accents here and there. You’d be amazed at how much character even a single tree or a row of shrubs can add. Alternatively, a flower bed or herb garden can provide you with flair and a brand new hobby. Don’t have much of a green thumb? Fake plants look just as nice, without the need for much TLC.

Lay down paths   

The outdoors can sometimes feel formless and unwieldy. How do you take ownership of such a wide open space? Fences are one way, but they can result in a claustrophobic, locked-in feeling. If you want to give a sense of shape to your yard without diminishing its openness, walkways are an ideal alternative. You can make these out of stone or brickwork, or even just gravel, dirt, or wood chips. The former can even be used to turn simple paths into mosaic works of art. Meanwhile, with the right accents the latter can suggest a laid-back casual personality perfect for a lazy summer day strolling in the sun.

String up lights

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re sipping lemonade with guests on your deck. Don’t let sundown cut your leisure time short. Install some lights to turn your backyard into an all-night hang-out spot. Porch lights seem an easy answer, but are often too harsh. Instead, think about using strings of white or yellow Christmas lights to mimic the appearance of fireflies. A few standing tiki torches or a couple flame lanterns can provide functional light as well as warm ambience.

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